The first family of Indian politics has ruled the country for almost half of its journey since independence in 1947, with three generations of prime ministers: Jawaharlal Nehru, his daughter Indira Gandhi, and grandson Rajiv Gandhi.

And through ups and downs, when the Congress has been in power and out of it, Amethi and Rae Bareli, separated by 62km (38 miles), have for the most part stood by the family. They have served as safe constituencies for India’s grand old party in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

However in 2019, that tradition received a dramatic jolt when Rahul Gandhi – son of Rajiv – lost Amethi by 55,000 votes to Smriti Irani, a feisty minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP government.

At stake are more than two seats: If the BJP wins Rae Bareli and retains Amethi, it will effectively have wiped out the Gandhi family and the Congress from Uttar Pradesh. Conversely, say opposition leaders, a Congress win in both seats could seed anti-BJP momentum in a state that often decides who rules nationally.

You can read more of this story here.

Rahul Gandhi greets supporters as he arrives at Fursatganj airport in Amethi [File: AFP]

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